Norcross Applauds Final Passage of NDAA that Supports Our Servicemembers, Provides a Strong National Defense
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Congressman Donald Norcross (NJ-01), Chair of the Tactical Air and Land Forces (TAL) Subcommittee in the House Armed Services Committee (HASC), applauded the final passage of H.R. 6395 the William M. (Mac) Thornberry National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2021 (FY21). The act, which received bipartisan support, supports our servicemembers and their families, as well as our defense civilian workforce, while providing for a strong national defense and ensuring oversight to assure the Department of Defense’s programs are fiscally responsible.
“Our servicemembers and their families deserve our full support, and today we honored their work by authorizing a 3% raise, in addition to making child care more affordable and accessible to military families on bases,” said TAL Chair Norcross. “We live in an uncertain world with persistent, credible threats to our nation and our democracy, so it is more important than ever that we support our men and women in uniform and ensure the readiness and modernization of our nation’s armed forces while spending our valuable resources wisely. Thanks to the leadership of HASC Chairman Adam Smith, this defense bill will provide the resources our military needs to keep America safe, as well as the oversight to ensure taxpayer money is being spent efficiently.”
Norcross supported a policy requiring the renaming of military installations currently named after any person who served in the political or military leadership of the Confederacy.
“America is the home of Democracy and the ‘land of the free;’ there is no room for any symbols of hate, bigotry or cruelty,” said Norcross. “Renaming our military structures is the right thing to do, and the President’s consistent choice to side with Confederates that fought against America to keep people in chains is disgusting and just plain wrong.”
Norcross added: “New Jersey and the Delaware Valley are home to a number of defense facilities and industries that provide high-tech jobs and play an important role in our national security. I worked alongside Reps. Andy Kim (NJ-03) and Mikie Sherrill (NJ-11) to provide continued support for the vital missions and groundbreaking work being performed at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst and Picatinny Arsenal, industrial base sites like Ridley Park’s Chinook helicopter facility, the ongoing defense research at Rowan University, and shipbuilding efforts at the Philadelphia Navy Yard, which are all strategically critical to both our national security and New Jersey’s economy. Notably, we included one of my top priorities for our national defense and regional economy, which is to ensure the KC-10 aircraft refueling tanker fleet is not retired prematurely, so the service men and women at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst can continue carrying out their critical missions as planned, while preparing for delivery of the new KC-46s.”
Norcross worked on the below specific provisions in this year’s NDAA:
Strengthening South Jersey’s Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst
Norcross fought to strengthen Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst by leading the effort to prevent the premature retirement of KC-10s. The Air Force had planned to retire six KC-10’s in FY21 in order to begin the transition and bring in the Joint Bases’ 24 new KC-46 air refueling aircraft starting in FY22. The Air Force however, earlier this year changed their request and sought to retire 16 KC-10’s this year – 10 more than originally planned. Given our current capacity gap in air refueling and the importance the air refueling mission has to the Base, Congressman Norcross led the effort to require the Air Force stick to the original plan.
Further, Norcross worked to ensure funding for the construction of a National Guard Readiness Center and Air Force Munitions Storage Area at the Joint Base. Norcross recently commended a milestone reached in construction of new KC-46 hangar on the Joint Base.
Supporting Service Members and Their Families
Norcross worked to ensure a 3% raise for all military servicemembers and to include a provision in the bill to ensure military families have access to affordable child care. This provision provides an on base housing preference for servicemembers whose spouse is a certified Family Child Care (FCC) provider and is willing to open their house to provide child care.
Wait times for child care at an on base Child Development Center (CDC) can be over a year, forcing many military families who live on base to find child care options off base. This amendment will provide for more on base child care options, while helping to alleviate the strain on CDC wait times.
Norcross also included an amendment requiring a report from the Department on implementing Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) for servicemembers to be able to use pre-tax dollars to pay for out-of-pocket child care expenses.
Boosting Jobs, Research & Development
Norcross included an additional $165 million in funding for the Chinook Block II program – adding five additional helicopters back into the budget – as well as an additional four V-22, which are both manufactured in Philadelphia.
Further, Norcross worked to support research projects being led by top-notch New Jersey institutions such as Rowan University to continue research on military engineering and infrastructure for cold regions like the strategically important arctic.
A fact sheet on the conference report can be found here.
Contact: Carrie Healey, Communications Director